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Skins Quotes 9/25: Shanahan/RG3/Allen/Woodson



The Commissioner
Staff member
BGO Ownership Group
Apr 11, 2009
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Greensboro, NC

Marine Corps Virginia

September 25, 2013
Redskins Park

Executive Vice President/Head Coach Mike Shanahan

On Wednesday’s injury report:

The guys that didn’t practice today were [kicker] Kai Forbath, [tight end] Jordan Reed and [linebacker] Brandon Jenkins. Limited was [tight end] Fred Davis. [Linebacker Ryan] Kerrigan, [safety Brandon] Meriweather and [wide receiver Leonard] Hankerson were full participation.

On who made the decision to have linebacker London Fletcher take plays off during games:

“It was London’s call during the game. He was a little tired. But we encourage people, not just London, but anybody if you’re going full-speed – offense, defense and special teams – and you can’t go full-speed, we ask these guys to take a break a few plays off, let somebody else go in and get their job done so you can play full-speed.”

On if Fletcher taking lays off is meant to conserve his energy:

“Like I said, we have different game plans. Sometimes we do it early, sometimes we do it late, sometimes it might be a long play – somebody going 40-50 yards down the sideline. But again we encourage people that if they feel like they need a break to take themselves out.”

On status of tight ends Fred Davis and Jordan Reed:

“I don’t know with Jordan. I think Fred, since he was limited today, hopefully he’ll be able to do a little bit more tomorrow. Jordan did not practice so we’ll just have to wait and see. Any time you have got a thigh contusion, you don’t know for sure. He’s getting treatment three times a day. That’s a good sign. He’s improved a lot in the last 24 hours and hopefully he can keep that progress going.”

On mentality of the team after starting 0-3:

“Like I said, you’re one play away from winning that game, so your mindset has to look at what you did right and wrong and be tough on yourselves just like we did in the first two games. And once it’s over, it’s over. We had a good practice today and hopefully we can continue that throughout the week and it carries over to Sunday.”

On if he has to game plan for two potential starters at quarterback for Oakland:

“I think you just said it right there, you have to account for both of them because you don’t know for sure, so two different types of game plans. I guess when you take a look at [Raiders quarterback Terrelle] Pryor, we know what a threat he is in the running game and you have to be ready for that. Other quarterbacks can run it, but not to the degree he can. You have to be ready for both.”

On quarterback Robert Griffin III’s progress:

“First of all, you have to play in order to get better and I think Robert’s done that. He’s healthy, he’s going to get better and better each week and I thought he got better this last weekend. The more he plays, the more he’s comfortable getting back playing in game situations, the better he’s going to be.”

On if he thinks defense problems are related to execution or the scheme:

“The first thing you have to do is try to put a team in a one-dimensional game and take away the run. We were able to do that against Detroit, but we didn’t finish. We gave up a couple of big plays in there that we were hoping we wouldn’t give up, but we still played well enough to win. That’s what you’ve got to do. You’ve got to take away the run, hopefully, and give yourself an opportunity to win the football game. We had those chances, but we just didn’t get it done.”

On if he believes Defensive Coordinator Jim Haslett is taking the defense in the right direction:

“Yeah, I thought we played much better against Detroit than we did in the first two games. Anytime a runner runs like he did, it’s really hard to slow up a football team. In both games we had, they rushed the ball extremely well. When they have that, the quarterback usually has a big day.”

On if there is a domino effect that comes from the defense not stopping the run:

“The first two games we played a little bit more nickel than we did base – almost all nickel, with the type of set they had – and obviously we didn’t get the job done stopping the run.”

On if running back Chris Thompson or wide receiver Joshua Morgan will return kickoffs:

“It’ll be one of those two guys… There’s some other options, but the options right now would be one of those two guys.”

On the challenges of playing at Oakland and how he prepares the players for that environment:

“You don’t say anything. I know that [the environment and the fans] better than anybody, by the way. I’ve got firsthand experience out there, quite a few years. I don’t think you do anything. The baseball field, it takes a while for the kickers to get used to. The receivers will go out there and get adjusted. It is a different type of atmosphere for a kicker because they’re not used to kicking off that infield, so you’ve got to make a decision in the pregame exactly how they’re kicking and then make decisions during the game.”

On allowing the Detroit Lions to use the Redskins’ overhead pictures during last Sunday’s game:

“When you have got equipment on either side, at least from my standpoint, if they come to our field they should have the opportunity to get the pictures just like if I was over there, I’d want the opportunities to get the pictures. I’m not going to go into who is to blame for it or whose should be working, but at the end of the day, I just think it’s in sportsmanship that they should have the same right to pictures that we do.”

On if he has any special memories of his time coaching the Raiders:

“It’s been a long time ago. I was there in ’88. That’s 25 years ago. It’s been a while. With Denver, we’ve had some great games through the years. It was always a big rivalry. You look forward to those types of games, just like the games we have here in the NFC East. It doesn’t matter if it’s the Giants, or the Cowboys, or Philly. The more you play them, the bigger they get, and we had a bunch of big games together.”

On his confidence in kicker John Potter:

“I thought Potter did a great job on his kickoffs, and he did a good job on the extra points and the field goal.”

On his level of surprise about the length of kicker Kai Forbath’s recovery time:

“You never know with groins. You don’t want a guy to over-kick himself. He might set himself back for the whole season. We’ll get a chance again to evaluate him on Friday and see where he’s at. Hopefully, he’ll be ready to go.”

On cornerback David Amerson’s performance:

“I thought he did good. I thought he made a few plays. He gave up a couple plays there, too. One was just a missed assignment - just a young guy and the other guy competing. They got a little shake route on him, but that’s part of the game.”

On Amerson’s inexperience and trying to make plays on the ball:

“I thought when he went for the ball he did a pretty good job. He batted down a couple. The other one, the big one on our sideline, the shake route – that’s experience. He’s right there, he’s just got to finish the play. I thought everybody saw him make a couple pretty good plays in the open field – pretty impressive for a young guy.”

On if changing the offensive play calling can help reduce the team’s slow starts:

“I thought we were much better this game even though we stopped ourselves. We were better in the third downs, better running the football. When you do that, you’ve still got to finish plays. It could be a turnover, it could be red zone – hopefully we can put a game together where we can score some points.”

On how safety Bacarri Rambo can work himself back into the lineup:

“Just like everybody. We’re going to evaluate that week-by-week, see how guys play. It’s part of the evaluation system for us. We’ll look at special teams. We’ll look at how a guy plays at defense, what type of game plan that we have against another team. It may be a base package; it may be a nickel package. How do we match up with different receivers, different tight ends? It all depends on what our game plan is that week, and that will change week-by-week.”

On if he evaluates defenses differently because of the league’s offensive shift:

“Yeah, I think you have to have a lot more packages defensively with some of these wide receivers and how you matchup. It’s not the same as it used to be, just a base defense you go out there and you play no matter what, because some of these teams are in four or five wide receivers to start out. You never know for sure what an offensive game plan is going to be, so you’ve got to be able to adjust defensively depending on what the personnel is.”

On if the Raiders’ “mystique” has changed in the absence of long-time owner Al Davis:

“No, I still think of Al Davis when I think of the Raiders, and I still think of his son running the organization right now. He accomplished a lot. Even though we had our differences, I had a lot of respect for him.”

On how Griffin III is handling outside scrutiny:

“You’ll have to ask Robert. I know he’s going to be in here in a second. I know he can answer that better than I can. I know one thing – it’s that he’s a competitor. When you get down or you don’t have a great game, he’s going to do everything he can, or he can do, to get himself the best opportunity to be successful. And that’s what he does. He’s a hard worker and hopefully he’ll play his best game of the year this weekend.”

Quarterback Robert Griffin III

On how close team is to turning a corner:

“I think we’re real close. We can see it on the tape, there is a lot of good things on the tape. No one wants to be sitting here 0-3. That’s not a good thing for us. It’s not who we are as a team.”

On if team still has its swagger:

“I think the swagger you are talking about, it’s hard to have that swagger sitting at 0-3, but I don’t think the team has lost its sense of confidence. We know how close we are. We know we can turn it around. We’re built to get out of this hole just like we were last year.”

On outside scrutiny:

“With anything anybody else says, that’s just stuff you have to ignore.”

On how the offense has improved:

“As an offense, I think we are better on third down. We had a lot more execution. I thought everybody played a lot better. We just didn’t get the victory, and that’s what matters at the end of the day. You have got to win and we didn’t do enough to win the game. We did enough to stay in the game, but not enough to win and I think that’s a key focus for us. We just have got to make the plays that are there and if it’s not there, try to do something and make a positive play. So, from that standpoint, I thought we all did a lot better.”

On why team was more successful on third down:

“Like I said, I think it was just better execution. You have got to make the throw. You have got to make the catch. We’ve got to pick up the blitz. We just had a lot of high points on third down that were good for us to where it was a normal third down conversion rate, for us at least. You just have got to continue that execution and realize that it takes 11 guys on offense and everybody is taking responsibility.”

On if he would change how his offseason was promoted publicly:

“I don’t think we would have. The fact of the matter is it comes with the territory of being a quarterback in the NFL. With you guys, when we don’t have success, there is going to be criticism. You’ve got to be able to stand tall, look the criticism in the face, look that adversity in the face, and let it know that you’re not going anywhere, and that’s what this team has to do and that’s what we’re going to do. I don’t think that’s necessarily an issue. I think if you have success; look at a guy like [Denver Broncos quarterback] Peyton Manning, who is a great quarterback, a guy that you look up to, he’s done a lot of great things in this league. He has a documentary and he’s going off this year and no one criticizes that. It goes with the territory. If you struggle a little bit coming out of the gates, everyone is going to look at that and criticize it and you just have got to be able to face that.”

On if the number of snaps he has taken under center is related to taking stress off of his knee:

“I don’t think that’s related at all. I think it’s just a matter of what the game plan is that week, whether under center or in the shotgun.”

On if he has worked on sliding in practice:

“The problem is I’m not a great slider, should I say. I know how to slide, but I don’t know how to baseball slide, and I think that’s what they’re talking about. But there is just more of an emphasis on sliding feet-first as opposed to going forward since that rule is in place. It protects you as a quarterback going backwards, going feet\-first, so that’s what you’ve got to do, so just make a mental note of that and try to slide feet-first.”

On avoiding falling behind in the first half of games:

“We talked about the first two games enough, I think, over the past couple of weeks. The past game we played against Detroit, we weren’t in a hole going into the second half. We were down three. I think we put ourselves in position to win the game and we just didn’t do it, so I think that’s a positive to build off of. You want to be leading at halftime, you don’t want to be in a hole, and that’s what our focus is going against Oakland. We have got to make sure we’re in a position to win the game.”

On if the offense knows its personality yet and if not knowing it has contributed to struggles:

“I think it’s more so us putting ourselves in bad situations, whether it be turnovers or penalties, getting in bad down and distances, it kind of makes you get away from some of the things you normally would do. And as long as we can eliminate those kind of things, then I think you’ll see that personality come back out and we’ll be able to get [running back] Alfred [Morris] some more touches, which I think he needs. He needs more touches, and we’ll get those to him by staying out of those bad down and distances… Each year is a little bit different. No teams are ever the same, even though we had a lot of guys returning, you have to go with what you have that year and what defenses are playing against you that year and how they’re playing against you that year, so it’s just something you have got to figure out on the fly.”

On if he saw the impact of quarterback pulls on the Lions defense:

“Yeah, I mean, getting outside of the pocket, definitely defensive coordinators don’t want that from a quarterback who can move a little bit. They want to keep you concealed inside the pocket, so we moved the pocket a little bit. I kept the ball on one of the zone-reads, and it does affect the defense. Safeties come up faster, corners play a little bit different, linebackers play a little bit different. It opened up holes for us down the field, so it’s something we’d definitely like to do and something we have got to do more of.”

On if he practices sliding in practice:

“No. I did in training camp and everything… You basically run up to a defender and you slide [laughter]. It’s easier to slide with football pants on. The slickness of the pants, I know I’m going a little too deep here, but the slickness of the pants helps you slide. When you have shorts on and stuff like that, it’s a little less conducive to sliding on the practice field, but I have.”

On if he would consider consulting a professional baseball player on sliding:

“I mean, if [Washington Nationals outfielder] Bryce [Harper] wants to do that I’m definitely up for that. Bryce, we can do that if you want to, buddy.”

On how trying this start has been on him personally:

“It’s adversity and it is one of the more trying things you have to go through, but you have to know where your faith is, and I have a lot of faith in this football team, a lot of faith in my teammates, coaches, faith in God and he’s going to bring us through this and all we have to do is do our part. As long as we show up here every day with the right attitude… I mean, no one is going to feel sorry for us in the NFL, no one is going to come pat us on the back and say, 'Hey, here is a win.’ We have to go out and take it, so all of that stuff being said, I think everybody has the right attitude. You have to go out and enjoy life. We want to start winning, and it starts this week against Oakland so we go into this bye week with a good feeling and come out of it ready to go on a tear.”

On if the attention on him takes away from the fun of playing the game:

“It’s part of the process. It’s part of being a quarterback in the NFL. Things are going to happen. You’re going to have to deal with the scrutiny and be able to stare it in the face and overcome it. That’s just what it is. There’s nothing else to say about that. You still try to go out and have the fun that you know how to have playing the game that you love.”

On throwing the ball 50 times against the Lions:

“I don’t think anyone would expect us to throw the ball over 40 times the first three games of the season. It’s not anything I’m not comfortable with. I just know a lot of times when you get into that range of throwing the ball, it’s not conducive to winning, and we did that to ourselves. We got down and we had to throw that many times in those first couple of games. If you throw 50 times and it’s just part of the game plan then that’s great, but we have to make sure we limit that and really work our game plan all the way through the game.”

On advice he has received from his father since the beginning of the season:

“You just have got to keep playing. Have fun. Don’t look at anything, and that’s what you have got to do. Whether it’s good or bad, you have got to make sure you block all of that stuff out. Don’t read what people are saying and move on. That’s the advice that he’s given me, and just keep pushing forward. Fight on, because that’s the only thing that we know how to do, we know how to keep fighting.”

On balancing the experience of last year’s winning streak without relying on it happening again:

“I think the line you draw is not to relax. Don’t look at it as, 'Hey, we did this last year. We can get out of this hole.’ You look to that as a sense of confidence like, 'We know what this team is made of. We know what we can do.’ But you don’t look at that and relax and say, 'Hey, we can just keep on losing, it will be all gravy.’ That’s not the way you approach it. You use that as confidence that you can build on toward the next week and don’t lose that swagger that we have. I think the team is ready. Everybody is disappointed in the way that we’ve played and the only thing we can do is change that on Sundays. I can’t change it up here. I can’t tell you guys any secrets about what is going to happen or how we’re going to do it. We just have got to go do it.”

On the media coverage he receives and his message to his teammates prior to the Philadelphia game that the game was about the whole team:

“I always try to make sure my teammates understand that, being a quarterback in this league, there is always going to be a lot of attention on you as a player. I want them to know that I don’t think that way. I know that it’s not all about me. The criticism is going to come to me. When we play well, the praise is going to come to the quarterback. That’s just how it is. I want them to know that I don’t believe that. I know it’s not all me. I know it’s about them and about what we can do to win games, so that’s why I said that. Everybody wanted to paint that Monday night game as my comeback and, yeah it’s the first game back, but I wanted them to know that it wasn’t just about me, it’s about us going out there and winning, and that’s what we have got to get back to. We have got to get back to us winning football games and that’s what we have got to do against Oakland.”

On how the attention he receives affects his teammates:

“I think sometimes, especially in training camp when we had to deal with the fans and everything out there at practice, a lot of those guys enjoy it because I’m the one out there signing autographs for an hour after practice every day and they get to go in and do whatever they want to do. They have fun with it and they poke and prod at you but it’s all in fun. I don’t know if it bothers them at all, but I just want them to know that I don’t believe that. I don’t believe what everyone else is out there saying, that it’s all me, all me, that it’s about us.”

On his confidence in his ability to make game-breaking plays:

“You just have got to believe in yourself. You have got to trust your preparation. I can’t say it enough times. Throughout every week you watch the film. You break it down. You know your plays. You know your reads. You know everything and you have got to go out there and play. If things don’t go your way on one play, you have got to move on and clear it, and that’s what you have to do. You have to make the plays that are out there and then when it comes to playmaking ability, you just have got to go out there with a clear conscience every play and make the best play you can.”

On if he has a relationship with Oakland Raiders quarterback Terrelle Pryor and his play so far this season:

“Me and T.P., we know each other. I don’t know if you’d say we are best friends or anything like that but we know each other. We got to see each other grow, him at Ohio State and me at Baylor. I’m glad he got a shot there in Oakland, but like I said earlier today, once we step on that field, it’s not about me and him. It’s about us versus the Raiders and that’s what we’ve got to do.”

On if media reports that he told the coaches he wanted to run less read option are true:

“It’s not true.”

Raiders Head Coach Dennis Allen

On the Redskins’ defense and what his team will try to exploit:

“I think we just have to have a game plan to be able to be balanced. I think they’re an attacking, aggressive style of defense. They give you a lot of different looks and so we’re going to have to be able to be balanced. We’re going to have to be able to run the football and then we’re going to have to be able to throw the football on them, also. I think that’s the key really in any week is to be able to have some balance offensively and we try to do that on a game in and game out basis.”

On if he thinks the defensive problems for the Redskins are relation to execution or to scheme:

“Without knowing exactly what they’re asking guys to do, it’d be hard for me to really judge and tell that. I do know that they have some talented players on that side of the ball and I know that they have two guys [linebacker Ryan] Kerrigan and [linebacker Brian] Orakpo that can really cause us some problems. So we need to make sure we understand where those guys are and be able to figure out what they’re doing early on in the game.”

On his familiarity with Redskins Defensive Coordinator Jim Haslett and his defenses:

“Not a ton, you know obviously he was in the NFC South with the Saints, so [I have] a little bit of familiarity with him and some of the things that they like to do defensively. But really you just look at the tape and see what they’re doing schematically this year and try to figure out where the points are that you can try to take advantage of.”

On the difference in quarterback Robert Griffin III this season:

“I still think he’s an outstanding quarterback. I still think he’s very mobile. I think he can get outside the pocket and do a lot of things athletically and I think he throws the ball well. You know a lot of people are trying to ask all those questions – I mean, I look at the team, they got off to a slow start last year and then won seven straight games. So I think we all recognize that this is still a very good football team, a high-caliber football team, a playoff-caliber football team.”

On incorporating the zone read with quarterback Terrelle Pryor:

“You know, I think as you watch how the game of football has evolved, you look at a lot of these young quarterbacks, and as they start playing in Pop Warner football and then on through high school and into college, I mean those are the things that they’re doing. And there’s not as many guys as pure dropback passers, so I think you have to look at the evolution of the game and try to mold your offensive schemes and offensive philosophies around what your guys can do well. And that’s one of the things that Terrelle can do well and I think anytime you have an athletic quarterback you want to use his athleticism.”

On Pryor and the difficulty of managing a quarterback’s medical status while coaching in a game:

“I mean, it’s a difficult thing to manage. I think we all understand the importance of player safety and nobody wants to put a player in jeopardy. We feel very confident that we followed the NFL protocol on concussions. Once we recognized that he had an issue we took him into the locker room for further evaluation. We’re going to continue to follow the protocol exactly how it’s laid out by the NFL, and as of right now, he has not been cleared to practice. He didn’t practice today, and we’ll see how he is tomorrow.”

On the zone read and if they studied the Redskins when incorporating it:

“We studied them, we studied some of the things that Carolina was doing, and we studied some of the things that the 49ers were doing. I think you go back and look at some of the things that some of the college teams are doing. We took a look at a lot of that stuff because we knew going into the season that we’d want to have a package of plays for Terrelle and as he’s become more prominent in the offense, we’ve tried to expand those plays.”

Raiders Safety Charles Woodson

On if quarterback Robert Griffin III looks different this season:

“Last year I think he was more concerned with the mobile aspect of the game setting up the passing. I think right now, coming off last week, they threw the ball a bunch of times. They’re throwing it a lot. I don’t think there’s as much setting up that pass with that read option in the run game as there has been.”

On if he prefers facing a mobile quarterback or a pocket passer:

“I think for the most part, you would like a guy that’ll sit back there and not have that threat of running. But you don’t get it your way all the time. That’s the one thing he brings is that he’s a dual threat. He can throw and there’s always the possibility of him running.”

On if he has noticed fewer zone reads being run this season:

“I think that last year it was really prevalent and a lot of teams used it. I think that teams now are concentrating more on stopping it, so it’s making those guys that run those types of schemes making them think more about doing regular-style handoffs or drop-back and passing the ball. There’s more instances now, and defensive coordinators are teaching the right way to kind of stop those things from happening.”

On if this is biggest revolution with offenses he has seen in his career:

“I think yeah, in a way. I think the Wildcat came in and made a splash, but that died out pretty quickly. Teams don’t use that as much. But this one, the read option I think is something that’s here to stay because it works. All you have to do is catch the defense in the wrong defense and you have the potential for a big play. You don’t have to use it all the time. You can use it sparingly. I think the offenses are making sure that they’re not exposing their quarterbacks too much with the read option. I think it’s good. I think it works. You definitely make sure you prepare for it during the week.”

On if the dirt infield at O.co Coliseum gives them a home field advantage:

“I don’t think so. We all have to play on it. The Raiders have got to play on it; Washington has to play on it. I don’t believe it’s a home field advantage. At times, they’ll be in the dirt most of the time, and there’s times where we’ll be in the dirt as a team. We all have to go out there. The main thing is to stay low and you’ll be fine.”

On how it feels to return to Oakland after seven seasons with Green Bay:

“It feels good. I’m happy to be back and be around familiar settings, being here with the organization. I’ve been welcomed here by the fans and the organization gave me a chance to play football again. So I’m very thankful for that and I feel good about being here and playing here.”

On his thoughts on cornerback DeAngelo Hall:

“I think DeAngelo is one of those guys that’s been able to stick around in the game for a long time and that’s because he’s a playmaker. He’s been able to make plays, you see he scored twice already this year, and he continues to put the ball in the end zone. So when you’re a playmaker, you stick around in this league, and that’s why he’s done as well as he has.”

On the key to longevity as a defensive back:

“First and foremost, you’ve got to be blessed to not have the type of injuries that can take you away from the game for a long time. Two, I think you’ve got to make plays. If you make plays, you can stick around. You’ve got to take care of your body. You’ve got to make sure you’re in tip-top shape. You’ve always heard this about the defensive backs, but you’ve got to have short-term memory. There’s going to be some things that are going to happen out there on the field that you’ve got to bounce back the next play and continue to play.”

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